Skip to content

Detailed Guide to Configure KDE Plasma Desktop

The Plasma desktop does a lot of things right and just as many things wrong. For instance, if you’re coming from Windows you will find the default desktop quite familiar. Yet, trivial tasks such as changing the wallpaper can prove to be daunting tasks, not that they really are. When it comes to desktop icons the Plasma desktop does things quite right, compared to Windows or even some other Linux desktop environments. The settings are easier to change and access and the location makes sense too. On Windows, to do something as simple as select which icons to show or not show on the desktop, you have to dive into the settings. With the KDE Plasma desktop, you can enable, align and disable icons and more with much ease. All you need to do to configure KDE Plasma desktop is right-click and select Configure desktop.

KDE Plasma Desktop Wallpaper

KDE Plasma configuration menu

This is the first tab that the Folder View Settings window opens into. Contrary to the name, here you can change more than just the wallpaper. The Layout decides whether you will have icons on the desktop at all or not. The default is set to Folder View where your desktop is simply a folder in your home directory named, Desktop. This is how it usually is on Windows or any other desktop environment.

If you select the Desktop View, the desktop will simply be a nice empty area for you to show off your wallpaper. You can still continue to have files and folders inside the Desktop folder in your home directory. However, none of that will be visible on the desktop, and you can not use the desktop to paste files into the said folder either.

KDE Plasma Desktop wallpaper

In Wallpaper Type, you have several options to select other than a still image of your choice. If you’re wondering, Haenau and Hunyango are two QML wallpapers that are built-in. Think of them as live wallpapers, however, they don’t do much other than change colors over time. By following our tips, you can make your KDE Plasma Desktop look like macOS.

Mouse Actions

KDE Plasma mouse actions

Windows 10 may be gearing towards a touch-based interface but when it comes to gestures, Plasma takes the cake. No, it doesn’t support touch gestures, but it does support mouse gestures. With a simple flick on the scroll wheel, you can switch between different virtual desktops. This can really make your workflow super smooth.

For each mouse action, you can set one of six functions: Switch Desktop, Paste, Switch Window, Standard Menu, Application Launcher, Switch Activity. The right-click is set to Standard Menu by default, this is the menu you get when you right-click on the desktop. To change the contents of this menu you can click on the gear icon next to it.


KDE Plasma location settings

If you have enabled Folder View your desktop shows the contents of the Desktop folder in your home directory. However, you can change it to show the contents of your home directory instead. It also lets you select any other folder that you may need constant access to.

KDE Plasma Desktop Icons

KDE Plasma Desktop icons

Here, you can select whether the icons on the desktop, whichever folder you’ve chosen to show, appear horizontally (row) or vertically (column). By default, it is set to the column since most desktops align icons in vertical columns. You can also choose whether the icons should be aligned from left to right or right to left.

Most of these settings, including the ones mentioned and those like icon sizes and sorting can also be simply changed in the Standard Menu with a right-click. What’s interesting here in the Features section at the bottom. If you click on More Preview options… you can set which type of files will be shown as thumbnails. I shortlisted some of the best icon themes for Linux that you must give a shot.

Applying Filter on KDE Plasma

KDE Plasma filters

If you’re someone who works better with a cluttered desktop, or you simply allow it to clutter you will love this feature. It basically lets you filter which files are shown (or not shown) on the desktop. You can filter files by name, or a part of their name, by type, or a combination of the two.

Folder View Tweaks on KDE Plasma Desktop

folder view settings on plasma

If you’ve used the Plasma desktop even for ten minutes you can understand how annoying that silly “Toolbox” can get hovering around on a desktop edge for no reason at all. It is nothing but a glorified right-click desktop menu. Well, the Tweaks section is where you can get rid of it for good.

It’s time to wind up my tips to configure the KDE Plasma Desktop by applying wallpapers, changing icons, settings up mouse actions and locations, etc.

1 thought on “Detailed Guide to Configure KDE Plasma Desktop”

  1. Hi Vivek,

    I’m using KDE Plasma virtual desktops on EndeavourOS at the moment.

    I’ve noticed that the desktop icons are displayed on every virtual desktop.

    I was expecting that I would be able to choose which icons reside on which virtual desktop.

    For example, I would like to have one virtual desktop with no icons at all and the rest with however many I want.

    Do you know if there’s a way to do this?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.